On a ten hour, three meal crash course through gastronomic hot-spot Lima, The Monster must stop at Astrid Y Gaston, checking in as the world’s thirty-fifth best restaurant according to San Pellegrino’s list of fifty best.
In the burgeoning Miraflores section of Lima, this is a pescatorian’s delight. The room is both contemporary and classic, the service polished, the menu a stunning dream of creativity.
The Monster makes selections off the incredible menu for the starters while leaving himself in the hands of the chef to dazzle with the main courses.
The amuse bouche is a fragile mango salad and a croquette of chicken and spicy peppers. Two entirely different flavor components, textures and temperatures that play deftly off each other. A rousing start to the meal.
The War of the “Anticuchos” is course number one. Octopus and asparagus collide in a plate wanting to dethrone the King of Anticuchos. Very well is the best asparagus ever served. Accompanied by dried olive and sugar, it is simply divine. While the octopus is marvelous as well, The Monster is amazed to say the asparagus wins this war.
On to Ardent Scallops. Covered with agave nectar and crispy garlic. Dressed with arracha root vegetable. A shot and a tiny cone, thrown into the fire together. Not only is the presentation stunning, whimsical and creative, the food is on equal footing. And the descriptions of each dish are poetry as well.
Then there is The Conspiracy, hairy crab, oppressed by the powerful popeye, joins aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili pepper) and sea urchin. And what about its army? The brave broth and the great ravioli. Hurray for the revolution! This is the least favorite course so far, while being light and effervescent it also retains a tinge of fishiness from the sea urchin. By least favorite The Monster must admit it is still delightful.
On to the stars of the show. The main dishes. At this point one must TTM (Trust The Monster) because he has neither the desire nor the willpower to take notes. Sometimes one must allow themselves to be immersed in a meal so expertly prepared and give themselves up to it. And so The Monster does. For that, the pictures below tell you all one needs to know…
As for a bit of sweet to end the meal, the jewel box presentation of delights is reminiscent of three Michelin star restaurant La Pergola in Rome.
Anyone who has been to French Laundry or Per Se will see similarities here with a wonderful Peruvian bent. While much less formal in both design and follow-through (The Monster arrives straight off a plane in nice pants and a t-shirt and feels at home), the unbelievable artistry in the kitchen and plating makes this a truly epic culinary adventure.
Why go? Even the most ethereal of life must sometimes find its shape. At Astrid Y Gaston it does.
Monster rating: 5/5 Monsters
Cantuarias 175, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
242-5387 – 243-2574